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What Are the Illinois Laws for Owning a Gun?

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Plainfield, IL firearms charge defense attorney

Thousands of people from across Illinois flocked to Chicago’s Navy Pier to see this year's fireworks show in celebration of the Fourth of July. However, the booms of the fireworks were not the only noise present throughout the city. According to a report from the Chicago Sun-Times, 16 people were shot and two were killed in violent crimes that occurred in and around the city on Independence Day. One potential reason for the high number of incidents may be the increased consumption of alcohol over the holiday weekend. Regardless of the time of year, Illinois has several rules for firearms that are meant to keep people in the state safe. Violations of these laws can result in being charged with a weapons crime.

Who Can Legally Own a Gun?

Anyone who wishes to own a gun for either home defense or concealed carry in Illinois must first apply for a Firearms’ Ownership Identification Card (FOID). The Illinois State Police are in charge of approving FOIDs, and there are several requirements that one must meet before legally owning a firearm:

  • Must be 21 years old or over, unless there is consent from a parent or guardian. Minors under the age of 18 are not permitted to own a gun.

  • Must not have been convicted of any felony.

  • Must not be addicted to narcotics.

  • Must not have been a patient in a mental institute within five years prior to the application.

  • Must not be intellectually disabled.

  • Must be a citizen of the United States.

Furthermore, there are steps that must be taken if gun owners want to carry a concealed weapon in Illinois. They must apply for a concealed carry license, pay a $150 fee, and attend 16 hours of training. A person with a valid concealed carry license will be allowed to carry a concealed weapon in most places; however, there are places where it is never legal to carry a weapon, including schools, libraries, parks, and government facilities.

What if I Am Caught Using an Unlicensed Firearm?

Depending on the nature of the crime, unlawful use of a firearm can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony in Illinois. Unlawful possession of firearms other than handguns or firearm ammunition is a Class A misdemeanor. The offender can face up to one year in prison, two years of probation, and up to $2,500 in fees.

Carrying a loaded gun is classified as aggravated unlawful use of a weapon. It is punishable as a Class 4 felony, and the offender can face up to three years in prison, 30 months of probation, and several fines. Possession of a stolen firearm is considered a Class 2 felony, resulting in jail time from three to seven years. The fine can be up to $25,000. Probation is possible for a Class 2 felony in Illinois.

Aggravated discharge of a firearm is a Class 1 felony, which carries a prison sentence up to 15 years and a fine up to $25,000. Furthermore, if a victim is injured or killed in an incident involving a firearm, the offender could also face charges such as manslaughter, assault, or even murder. Murder can result in a sentence of 20 years to life in prison.

Contact a Joliet, IL Criminal Defense Attorney

Illinois has specific laws regarding firearms, and gun owners must meet their requirements for obtaining a FOID or concealed carry license. Due to the prevalence of gun violence, weapons charges are taken very seriously, and unlicensed gun owners could face criminal consequences. If you are facing weapons charges of any kind, the first step you should take is to hire legal counsel. The Law Office of Tedone & Morton, P.C. can help build a strong defense on your behalf. To schedule a free consultation with a Will County weapons charge defense lawyer, call 815-666-1285.


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